New Delhi: In a landmark decision which could put an end to Sepp Blatter’s 17-year reign as the FIFA president, the Ethics Committee of football's world governing body on Thursday provisionally banned the Swiss administrator along with Michel Platini and Jerome Valcke from all football related works for ninety days with immediate effect.
Ethics Committee chaired by Hans Joachim Eckert can extended for an additional period not exceeding 45 days. During this period, they are banned from all football activities.
FIFA released a statement, which reads: "The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee chaired by Hans Joachim Eckert has provisionally banned FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, UEFA President and FIFA Vice-President Michel Platini, and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke (who has already been put on leave by his employer FIFA) for a duration of 90 days. The duration of the bans may be extended for an additional period not exceeding 45 days."
Besides, former FIFA Vice-President Chung Mong-joon has been banned for six years and fined Swiss Franc 100,000.
"The former FIFA Vice-President Chung Mong-joon has been banned for six years and fined CHF 100,000. During this time, the above individuals are banned from all football activities on a national and international level. The bans come into force immediately," the statement added.
The statement further stated that the "grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out" by the committee.
"The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee. The chairman of the chamber is Dr Cornel Borbély. The investigation into Joseph S. Blatter is being carried out by Robert Torres, the investigation into Michel Platini by Vanessa Allard."
Interestingly, UEFA chief Platini earlier today released a statement slamming the initial reports which predicted the ban, saying it was an attempt to damage his reputation.
“This deliberate leak – which is insidious in nature and has come about in an unacceptable manner – is essentially an attempt to damage my reputation," Platini said in a statement.
He also stressed that he has willingly cooperated with the authorities and said, "Over the last few weeks, I have stressed my willingness to cooperate fully with the authorities carrying out the various enquiries in compliance with the strictest procedural rules. Fifa, on the other hand, has clearly flouted those rules."
The Frenchman also revealed that he has submitted the required documents to stand as a candidate for the FIFA presidency.
"This morning I submitted the letters of support that are required in order to stand as a candidate of the presidency of FIFA. As I have always done since 2007, I will fulfil my obligations after consulting UEFA's 54 member associations, which I will ask to convene shortly in Nyon. I will also meet with all the other confederations and FIFA's member associations in the spirit of opneness that has always characterised my actions."
Blatter was interrogated by Swiss authorities on September 26 as a part of the ongoing FIFA corruption investigation into charges of "criminal mismanagement" and "misappropriation."
The 79-year-old allegedly sold TV rights for World Cup to the disgraced former FIFA heavyweight Jack Warner at below market rate. He is also suspected of a disloyal payment of USD 2 million to Platini in 2011.
Blatter was re-elected FIFA president again amidst furor on May 29. Days later, Blatter announced that he would be resigning, and would remain in office until his successor could be elected.
This latest development in all likelihood could sound the death knell for Platini, who until then was widely regarded as the heir apparent to Blatter.
The longest-serving vice-president on executive committee Issa Hayatou will serve as acting president of FIFA. The 69-year-old Cameroonian is also the president of Africa's football confederation (CAF). Meanwhile, Markus Kattner will continue to act as secretary general, a role Valcke performed until recently.